The Stream, March 26, 2020: Drought and Saltwater Intrusion Hit 13 Vietnamese Provinces

The Global Rundown

Drought and saltwater intrusion are beginning to affect livelihoods in several Vietnamese provinces. A U.S. federal judge orders a full environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline, siding with North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. England could face droughts within 20 years as water demand rises, according to the auditor general. Aid groups call for a restoration of water at Syria’s Alouk water station, which serves nearly half a million people. The New Orleans Sewage and Water Board resorts to estimating bills as the coronavirus causes staffing shortages. 

“We ask for patience among our commercial customers during this declared emergency. We understand many businesses are closed to promote social distancing and to keep our city as safe as possible, and therefore will be using substantially less water and sewer services.” –The New Orleans Sewage and Water Board (S&WB), in reference to staff shortages brought on by the coronavirus. Due to the lack of manpower, the S&WB says they are unable to conduct normal meters reading, and will instead have to estimate customers’ bills. 4WWL

In context: Water Utilities’ Biggest Coronavirus Concern Is Staffing

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By The Numbers

13 Provinces in Vietnam where severe drought and saltwater intrusion have begun to affect the population over the past several months, according to a report by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam. Five of the drought-stricken provinces have declared a state of emergency. Relief Web

20 years Length of time until England could be experiencing intensifying droughts, based on a report by the National Audit Office (NAO). The report cautions that several parts of England, particularly the southeast, could face severe water shortages in the next couple decades due to rising demand and a decrease in rainfall. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

Syria’s Alouk water station, which serves nearly half a million people, is currently not producing. The station has been shuttered since March 21, a move that appears to be political. As Syria confirms its first coronavirus cases, aid groups are calling for a restoration of the water station. Deutsche Welle

On the Radar

Judge James Boasberg, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit, has ruled that a more thorough environmental impact statement of the Dakota Access Pipeline is required before the project can continue operation. In siding with North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Boasberg said that environmental reviews by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the companies that own the pipeline are insufficient. A judge will now decide whether the pipeline will be allowed to stay in operation as the case progresses. The Hill

In context: At Standing Rock – Water, History, and Finance Converge As Sioux Nation Mounts Storied Battle Over Dakota Access Pipeline


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